The following post is by Rear Admiral Patrick Brady, Commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)
Last September I had the distinct and memorable pleasure to be a part of the graduation ceremony for Division 301 at Recruit Training Center Great Lakes. Including our current class, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has sponsored a total of six recruit classes over the last several years and each time it brings great benefit to the recruits and our organization.
Sponsorship gives that two-way connection between recruit and Fleet Sailor that is so very valuable as they embark on their career in the Navy. Boot camp is demanding and a very foreign experience for many recruits. Even at the conclusion of training, there can be a big transition for recruits moving on to their first Fleet assignments. The sponsoring command can provide that seasoned guidance and mentorship to smooth the transition.
As sponsors, we get the chance to pass along those lessons learned we wished someone had told us starting out. My team sat down with the new Sailors and discussed their future, different career options, platforms, port calls, everything about being in the Fleet. What a great opportunity for everyone involved. It was invigorating being around these young Sailors that are so dedicated and eager to learn and do their part for our Navy and country. Joining these outstanding young Americans during their graduation and events of preceding days was truly motivational and an exciting experience.
The SPAWAR leadership team was there for the capping ceremony where ball caps are changed from “Recruit” to “Sailor.” This is a very proud and special moment for these men and women and comes at the culmination of the strenuous, night long Battle Stations 21 training. This realistic training allows the recruits to demonstrate the all the skills they learned and the teamwork necessary to succeed in our Navy.
The graduation ceremony was emotional and impressive. Attendance by family and friends of the new Sailors was the added ingredient that made this event even more special. It was a very telling reminder that a big part of our Navy team is all the loved-ones back home that support our Sailors and enable our Navy to be the Global Force for Good. The only people I saw that were more proud than the graduates at the ceremony may have been their families.
What a tremendous experience! The Boot Camp sponsorship program is a great opportunity for the Fleet to stay engaged with the future of our Navy.